Harvesting Evil, by CJ Wheeler
Hey guys, welcome back to another Bookish Beyond review.
Have you discovered any new bookish gems lately?
Today, I’m excited to be reviewing Harvesting Evil, by CJ Wheeler.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.
Parker Anderson has been called to the scene of yet another young girl’s death, murdered in a most gruesome fashion by a sadistic molester. Said killer’s MO is to leave the poor girl’s corpses – defiled – holding their own hearts. However, it isn’t just these random young women the killer is after. He soon sets his sights on Sheriff Anderson, leaving her little letters here and there, even at her own home.
Can the Sheriff evade the killer’s clutches, or will she also be sucked into his insidious games?
Parker Anderson is the local Sheriff, thirty-six years old and as stubborn as they come. I found her to be a strong and independent woman, doing her best to remain emotionally-distant whenever she was on a difficult case such as the one which takes centre-stage in this story. Parker proves herself to be hardworking and independent to a fault, to the point where she struggles to be vulnerable with others, for fear that it makes her weak. She was very much a woman of action, however, she was also cautious, never leaping on an impulse but taking her time to think through different angles in regards to any given situation. Throughout the story, I found myself coming to admire her greatly because of her sheer strength of will and willingness to risk her life to save others.
Next we come to Agent Oliver Locke (FBI), a handsome, confident, intelligent, and witty man; all traits which made him easy to like. Over the course of the story, he does his best to assist Sheriff Anderson in a horrifying series of murders, proving himself to be equally as stubborn as the Sheriff at times. At first, he seemed slightly guarded, having lost his wife but as the story continued, we begin to see him gradually open up more, demonstrating a more helpful, caring and kind nature, which Sheriff Anderson seems to bring out in him. Overall, Agent Locke was a pleasant and highly-likable character who worked well alongside the lead protagonist and offered an additional sharp mind to the murder investigations, along with a quick wit which helped to alleviate some of the tension in the heavier scenes.
Finally, I’d like to discuss the main antagonist of the story. The detectives imagine him to be highly intelligent, good looking, and socially adaptable, with a particular vendetta toward women. He seems methodical in how he goes about dispatching and posing his numerous victims and appears to only go after ‘beautiful, capable women.’
I found it interesting to learn more about his profile as the case escalated over time. The author even shows us brief snippets from his point of view which allow the reader to get occasional glimpses into the man’s twisted mind. In addition, it is clear quite early on that the killer is enacting vengeance for pain which was inflicted upon him when he was younger. At one point, he even vows that he will never be controlled by women again in his life.
What was perhaps most chilling was the way the killer understood the subtle nuances of human behaviour, at a level that allowed him to predict where his potential victims would be and how best to gain their trust so he could abduct them for his own nefarious purposes. Overall, this killer proved himself to be quite memorable. The images of the harm he inflicts in this story will stay with me for a long time coming.
There were many positives to Harvesting Evil, which I have listed below;
- I liked how we got to see things (in brief snippets) from the killer’s point of view as this allowed me – as a reader – to get a better sense for his rationale for killing.
- Furthermore, I really enjoyed Parker and Oliver’s conversational back and forths as they were comedic, with a light hint of flirtatiousness. These positive interactions helped to lighten the darker, more tense moments of the novel in general.
- The tension builds up well throughout the story, gradually escalating, with some more sudden, dramatic shifts at times.
- The third-person narration works well, allowing us to view events from multiple perspectives, e.g. the sheriff’s, the murderer’s, and other important characters in-between.
- Finally, the killer’s profile was interesting and his actions sent chills running up my spine; as a woman, his actions had me empathizing with – and anticipating – his victim’s own pain.
While reading Harvesting Evil, there was one quote which stood out to me.
‘I spent a good deal of time people-watching. I was always fascinated by how and why people behaved the way they did.’
This quote felt relatable to me as I have also spent a lot of my life observing others in order to better understand people. I imagine we have all done this at some point or another, even unconsciously, in order to better anticipate the actions of those around us.
Overall, I found Harvesting Evil to be a well-executed and truly chilling thriller novel. Learning about such a sadistic killer and his motivations had me on the edge of my seat, anxiously anticipating his next moves.
Themes included justice, personal vengeance, and the past – specifically how past, traumatic experiences can shape a person, for better or worse.
My Rating: 4 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of thriller novels which follow intriguing murder cases and highlight the role our past comes to play in the development of our individual psyches.
Would you like more information?
As always, thank you for joining me for today’s review.
If you enjoyed this post, why not share it over social media using the buttons below, or leave a comment to let us know what you thought.
Have a wonderful week,